Iran. The first official executions of activists who had
participated in the protests against the 2009 parliamentary
elections were carried out on January 28. Mohammed Reza Ali
Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were hanged since being
convicted of belonging to a monarchist group and being
so-called enemies of God. Earlier in January, a
parliamentary committee had admitted that three activists
arrested in connection with the unrest had been beaten to
In February, the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) issued its most critical report to date on the
Iranian nuclear fission program. Under its new chief Yukia
Amano, the agency said it had credible information that Iran
had tried to manufacture nuclear warheads. Iran responded,
just as before, that it only wanted to develop nuclear
power. Turkey and Brazil, both members of the UN Security
Council, tried to get Iran to enrich its uranium in Turkey
and then use it in a research reactor. The United States
rejected the proposal and passed a new resolution on June 9
against Iran in the UN Security Council. The 1929 resolution
meant an extended arms embargo and stricter penalties on
companies that did business with Iran in areas that could be
linked to nuclear fission. But the sanctions exempted the
sensitive oil industry so only a week later the US imposed
its own tougher sanctions, and in July the EU followed with
rules such as restricted Iranian banks' operations in the
EU, stopped Iranian transport flights and prohibited EU
companies from exporting products that could be used
militarily, such as pipes, and also some equipment to the
oil and gas industry. The sanctions also affected Iranian
passenger flights within Europe.
In December, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and replaced him with
the head of the country's nuclear energy program Ali Akbar
Salehi. The background was, according to analysts, a power
struggle between the two conservative leaders, which had
expressed during the summer that the president had tried to
appoint his own diplomats in the foreign administration.
COUNTRYAAH, forty-three-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani,
sentenced to death by stoning for, among other things.
infidelity, after intense international protests in July,
the execution was postponed.
Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of the Sunni Muslim guerrilla
group Jundullah, was arrested in February and executed in
Tehran on June 20. He had acknowledged, among other things,
blast attacks, robbery, murder and kidnapping. His brother
Abdolhamid Rigi, highly regarded within the same group, was
executed May 24.
The Swedish cosmetics company Oriflame's operations in
Iran were shut down in August after the company was accused
of fraud in the form of pyramid schemes and for trying to
damage the security of the Islamic Republic. According to
Oriflame, the company's business concept, with female
network vendors, caused a dissatisfaction with the regime.
Five employees, including one with Iranian and Swedish
citizenship, were arrested. Four of them were released in
the next few months, the Swede on November 2.